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49ers vs. Falcons: NFC championship game prospector's guide

We take a look at pertinent facts, figures and history in the 49ers NFC Championship Game matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.

And we're back for hopefully the second to last edition of the weekly 49ers prospector's guide! The 49ers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in the Georgia Dome with a trip to Super Bowl XLVII on the line.

The 49ers and Falcons have a long history, although it has been relatively quiet in recent years. The two teams used to face each other every year in the old NFC West, before the NFL started to remember their geography lessons. Of course, the last time these two faced off in the playoffs, in fact, the only time these two have faced off in the playoffs, took place in 1999 when both were still in the NFC West. That was an ugly game as it was when Garrison Hearst blew up his ankle and was lost for two years. If Hearst stays healthy, the 49ers likely win that game, and who knows what would have happened after that.

Whatever the case, the Falcons enter this game as the biggest conference title game home underdog since before 1978. I have to think this will give them a little bit of extra motivation, although if a team needs extra motivation in the conference championship game, they might have bigger problems. All I hope for is that the Falcons come out flat and the 49ers put this thing away sooner rather than later.

On to your potpourri of stats!

Strong performances

Dashon Goldson: Registered season high 10 tackles at Atlanta (10/3/10)

Frank Gore: Had six receptions for 60 yards at Atlanta (10/3/10), marking the fourth game in the 2010 season he registered at least six receptions and the third consecutive game with at least 50 receiving yards. It marked the first time in his career that he had recorded at least six receptions in four consecutive games.

Andy Lee: Made his NFL debut at Atlanta (9/12/04) and booted his first punt inside the 20 in the same game. Played his 100th career game at Atlanta (10/3/10)

Randy Moss: As a member of the Minnesota Vikings, posted a season-best 134 receiving yards on nine catches vs. Atlanta (12/1/02)

Patrick Willis: Posted 13 tackles and two forced fumbles vs. Atlanta (10/11/09), marking the first time a 49ers player forced two fumbles in a game since Hall of Fame DE Chris Doleman registered three forced fumbles vs. Carolina (11/8/98)

Coaching Connections

  • 49ers special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Brad Seely worked with Falcons defensive line coach Ray Hamilton in New Eng- land during the 1999 season when Seely was the Patriots special teams coach and Hamilton held the same title.

  • 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathamn was a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1994 while Ray Hamilton held the same position with the Raiders.

  • 49ers quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst was on the Carolina Panthers staff with Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis from 2007-08. Chryst was the tight ends/offensive quality control coach and Lewis held the same title.

  • 49ers offensive line coach Mike Solari and tim Lewis were both on the Seattle Seahawks staff in 2009, Solari and Lewis held the same titles.

  • 49ers assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson played at LSU while Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was the Tigers linebackers coach in 1986. Both were also with the New York Giants in 1993 when Jackson was a defensive back and nolan was New York's defensive coordinator.

  • 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was on Mike Nolan's 49ers staff from 2007-08 holding the same title.

    49ers - Georgia Connections

  • Secondary coach Ed Donatell was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-06.

  • FB Bruce Miller is from Woodstock, GA and attended Woodstock HS.

  • CB Carlos Rogers is from Augusta, GA and attended Butler HS.

    Falcons - Nor Cal Connections

  • Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was the 49ers head coach from 2005-08 and also the linebackers/defensive backs coach at Stanford from 1982-83.

  • Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter held the same position at San Francisco State in 1985.

  • Defensive line coach Ray Hamilton held the same position with the Oakland Raiders from 1993-94.

  • Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie was with the Oakland Raiders from 1982-93 in multiple capacities.

  • TE Tony Gonzalez attended the University of California where he played football and basketball.

  • S Thomas DeCoud attended Pinole Valley High School in Pinole, CA and then went on to star at the University of California.

  • CB Chris Owens attended San Jose State.

Collegiate Connections

  • Tigers Teammates: 49ers LB Aldon Smith, Falcons TE Chase Coffman, S Wiliams Moore and LB Sean Weatherspoon, were teammates at the University of Missouri in 2008
  • Longhorn Lineage: 49ers CB Tarell Brown and Falcons G Justin Blalock played their entire career together at the University of Texas from 2003-06
  • Cavalier Company: 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks was teammates with Falcons RB Jason Snelling at the University of Virginia from 2002-04
  • Hurricane Homies - 49ers LB Tavares Gooden and Falcons P Matt Bosher played together at the University of Miami from 2006-07

Series HighlightsMatchups: 75
Postseason Matchups: 1
Series record: 49ers lead series 44-30-1
Postseason Series record: Falcons lead series 1-0
49ers away record vs. Falcons: Falcons lead series 18-19-1
49ers Postseason away record vs. Falcons: Falcons lead series 1-0
First Meeting: 10/16/66, 49ers win 44-7, at Atl.
First Postseason Meeting: 1/9/99, Falcons win 20-18, at Atl. (NFC-D)
Last Meeting: 10/3/10, Falcons win 16-14, at Atl.
Last Postseason Meeting: 1/9/99, Falcons win 20-18, at Atl. (NFC-D)
Current Streak: Lost 4
Current Postseason Streak: Lost 1
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 5 - 3 times (Last 9/29/96 - 9/27/98)
Longest Postseason 49ers Win Streak: None
Longest Falcons Win Streak: 4 - 2 times (Last 9/12/04 - 10/3/10)
Most 49ers Points: 56 - (10/18/92), 56-17, at SF
Most Postseason 49ers Points: 18, (1/9/99), 20-18 at Atl. (NFC-D)
Most Falcons Points: 45 - (10/11/09), 45-10, at Atl.
Most Postseason Falcons Points: 20, (1/9/99), 20-18 at Atl. (NFC-D)
49ers Shutouts: 4 - (Last 11/23/86), 49ers win 20-0, at SF
Postseason 49ers Shutouts: None
Falcons Shutouts: 2 - (Last 10/9/77), Falcons win 7-0, at SF
Postseason Falcons Shutouts: None

2012 Statistics

49ERS (rank) FALCONS (rank)
11-4-1 (1st NFCW) Record 13-3 (1st NFCS)
24.8 (11th) Points per game 26.2 (7th)
361.8 (11th) Total Offense 369.1 (8th)
155.7 (4th) Rushing Offense 87.3 (29th)
206.1 (23rd) Passing Offense 281.8 (6th)
30:49 (10th) Possession Avg 30:52 (9th)
17.1 (2nd) Points allowed/gm 18.7 (5th)
294.4 (3rd) Total Defense 365.6 (24th)
94.2 (4th) Rushing Defense 123.2 (21st)
200.2 (4th) Passing Defense 242.4 (23rd)
38 (t-11th) Sacks 29 (28th)
48.1 (3rd) Punting Avg (Gross) 45.6 (18th)
+9 (t-8th) Turnover Differential +13 (t-5th)